Goodness: Filling the Gap

(6th article in the Discipleship Series)

The Bible says that men are recognized by the fruit they produce in their lives.  A good tree produces good fruit, a bad tree produces bad fruit.
Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.Matthew 7:17-18
Those born of God produce good fruit.
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. HE WHO DOES GOOD IS OF GOD, but he who does evil has not seen God.3 John 1:11
In fact, God prepared good works IN ADVANCE for us to do.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, WHICH GOD PREPARED BEFOREHAND that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
What are these good works?

They come about in one of two ways:

1.  Through personal gifting.
2.  By filling the gap.

Let’s talk about these two methods for expressing good works.

Personal Gifts

God has given 7 NATURAL gifts to man.  All men possess at least one of these gifts.  Some use them to glorify God, others use them to glorify themselves.

They can be found in Romans 12.  
We have different GIFTS, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is PROPHESYING, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is SERVING, then serve; if it is TEACHING, then teach; if it is to ENCOURAGE, then give encouragement; if it is GIVING, then give generously; if it is to LEAD, do it diligently; if it is to show MERCY, do it cheerfully.Romans 12:6-8
They are:

1.  Prophesying (or preaching)
2.  Serving
3.  Teaching
4.  Encouraging
5.  Giving
6.  Leading
7.  Mercy

Preaching is declaring the truth.  Serving is practicing the truth.  Teaching is explaining the truth.  Encouraging is applying the truth.  Giving is supporting the truth.  Leading is organizing the truth.  Mercy is ministering the truth.

But which gift is yours?

You can find your gift by understanding the EFFECT it has in someone’s life.


Different gifts cause different “effects” in people.  By identifying which “effect” brings you the most joy, you can identify your gift or gifts.


Are you a big picture guy?  Do you like getting people EXCITED about a cause?  Can you speak well?  Are you comfortable in front of a crowd and enjoy the spotlight?  Then your gift is Preaching!  The “effect” that brings you joy is in your ability to rally people to a common cause.


Are you more comfortable “doing” the truth than you are “expressing” the truth?  Do you want your actions to speak louder than your words?  Do you like to help people?  Then your gift is Serving.  The “effect” that brings you joy is in your ability to make someone’s life easier by what you do for them.


Is it important to you that people understand WHY they believe what they believe?  Are you interested in the mechanics of why something is true?  Can you explain it to people?  Then your gift is Teaching.  The “effect” that brings you joy is in your ability to help people UNDERSTAND why something is true.


Do you have discernment?  Do you have the ability to say the right thing at the right time?  Do you like to encourage people when they are down?  Then your gift is Encouragement.  The “effect” that brings you joy is in your ability to give people HOPE.


Do you have a knack for making money?  Does everything you touch turn to gold?  Do you have a desire to see worthwhile efforts get off the ground?  Then your gift is Giving.  The “effect” that brings you joy is in your ability to bring someone’s vision to life though your financial support. 


Are you organized?  Are you detail oriented?  Are you able to understand the process of making something work?  Are you able to inspire others to follow your lead?  Then your gift is Leading.  The “effect” that brings you joy is in your ability to make things run smoothly through your organizing skills.


Are you sensitive to the hurts of others?  Do you see the value in people no matter what they have done?  Then your gift is Mercy.  The “effect” that brings you joy is your ability to validate people.

Find your gift and walk in it.  For more on this topic, read my article, How To Find Your Specific Purpose in Life.

Filling the Gap

Not every good work will fit into your spiritual gift, sometimes we need to just FILL THE GAP.

What gap?  The gaps you see in life as you walk down YOUR road.

The Good Samaritan discovered A GAP as he traveled the road to Jericho.  He came across a man who had been beaten and robbed by thieves.  Though others had passed him by, the Good Samaritan bound his wounds and took him to an inn to be cared for— all at his own expense (Luke 10:25-37).

That was the ROAD of the Good Samaritan.

What road are you on?  Where does your life take you? Wherever that may be, your calling is to look for gaps— and to fill them (2 Thessalonians 1:11). 

I live in a place where there are campgrounds.  As I walked my dogs, I noticed campers were leaving a lot of trash.  I started bringing trash bags to clean up the trash.  Now as new campers arrive they are experiencing cleaner campgrounds.

The point is— this is my road.  The good deeds I do fit into MY world.  You just need to be aware and prepared to deal with the gaps that appear in your world.

Not that we ever fill gaps to gain recognition or to glorify ourselves, but just the opposite.  

1.  We fill gaps to bring glory to God.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and GLORIFY YOUR FATHER which is in heaven.Matthew 5:16
2.  We fill gaps because when the goodness of God is expressed through us it leads people to repentance.
Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God LEADS YOU TO REPENTANCE?Romans 2:4
3.  We fill gaps because it is a natural expression of who we are in Christ.
Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.”  Show me your faith without your works, and I WILL SHOW YOU MY FAITH BY MY WORKS.James 2:17-18

Operating in our gifts and filling gaps exemplifies the goodness of God.  If we think talking about Christ is all we were called to do, we have missed the point.  Faith without works is dead. 
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.James 2:15-17
As you learn to walk in the fruit of God’s Spirit, GOODNESS is a major component for allowing what’s in you to come out, for all your world to see.

In our next session, I will be discussing the Fruit of the Spirit— FAITH.

Fruit of the Spirit Card